In comedy, it’s all about timing. That’s also true in presidential politics. When President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, was forced to resign last September, the clock immediately began to tick. When would he get to tell his side of the story?
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Two months later he signed a two-million-dollar book contract with Simon & Schuster. The company was not especially interested in Bolton’s autobiography. It was not even that interested in his hawkish foreign policy views.
S & S wanted just one thing – the inside scoop on the political machinations among the president and his top foreign affairs advisors. And Bolton was privy to virtually every policy initiative under discussion.
Clearly, for at least the last few months of his tenure, Bolton had not been a happy camper and was not shy about expressing his dissent. The president needed to be surrounded by yes-men, and preferably those without elaborate moustaches.
And so, when the Ukrainian fiasco began to dominate the news headlines last month, Bolton’s contract began to look like one of the biggest bargains in publishing history.
John Bolton's book deal
The most important question for Bolton and his publisher was not whether to spill all the beans, but when. Should he testify before the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings in December, or, possibly a month or two later, at the Senate impeachment trial? Or should he make everyone wait until his book was published?
Clearly, Bolton and S & S did not want him testifying in December. It was too far ahead of the book’s earliest possible publication date.
But then, about a week ago, Bolton announced that if he were subpoenaed by the Senate – perhaps in late January or in February – he would willingly testify. This was a very gutsy move.
On the plus side, it kept Bolton’s name in the news, and began to build anticipation about what his testimony might reveal. But if his testimony came more than a couple of months before his book was published, it’s impact on sales might not be that great.
If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does finally hand over the articles of impeachment to the Senate -- perhaps sometime in the next few days – there is absolutely no guarantee that the Senate will call even one witness. That might work out just find for Bolton, since now we would all be left to wonder what his testimony might have revealed.
And so, by just offering to testify, Bolton has won. He has kept himself and his book in the news.
When will Bolton’s book actually come out? All we know right now is that it will be published sometime this year, presumably before the presidential election.
When will Ukraine news come out?
My own guess is that Bolton will end up not testifying. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who takes his marching orders from President Trump, will not allow Bolton – or any other Trump Administration official – to appear as witnesses.
Not only does the president want the trial over as quickly as possible, but he does not want to hear Bolton bad-mouthing him, his legal advisor, Rudy Giuliani, and rest of sycophants in his inner circle.
I think that Bolton’s book will come out sometime between July Fourth and Labor Day, and will have a substantial impact on the outcome of the presidential election. Don’t be surprised if Trump’s lawyers threaten to bring suit to stop publication – a move which might further increase sales.
A few weeks before publication, a couple of newspapers will be authorized by Simon & Schuster to print juicy excerpts, and the book will become a number one best seller. If it does, then the president could claim that he was right all along – that the Ukrainians did indeed interfere in our election.